Glasgow rallies in support of Herald journalists
16 January 2009
Over 100 people attended an NUJ-hosted public meeting in Glasgow last night, showing massive support for the fight to save The Herald group of newspapers.
Newsquest Glasgow, owners of The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times, told its 250 journalists last month that they would be made redundant and "invited" to apply for fewer posts on reduced terms and conditions.
The announcement that up to 50 posts would be shed, despite the division recording profits of almost £24 million in the last year, was condemned by First Minister Alex Salmond and other political and civic leaders from across the political spectrum.
James Doherty, NUJ president, told the public meeting:
"This is not Woolworths or MFI – these are not failing businesses which are on their knees. Our members are suffering at the hands of owners and shareholders obsessed not by quality, but by profit.
"The very existence of quality, Scottish journalism and many of our most cherished titles are at risk of extinction.
"These people are not fit to run our industry and we must come together and unite to reclaim our titles and fight for a Scottish media sector which is, once again, respected and at the heart of our communities and democracy."
The meeting also heard from Ian Bruce, the long-serving NUJ father of the Herald chapel; Professor Alan Miller, the Director of the Scottish Human Rights Commission; Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish Organiser, and a large number of NUJ members working on the titles.
Reps from other unions, including striking Glasgow city council workers, Unite, UNISON and the STUC offered support and called for a wider campaign across the labour movement for better protection from redundancy for all workers.
Sandra White, Scottish National Party MSP, warned those fighting for quality journalism:
"We're finished if we don't have a democratic, independent media."
Sandra White had previously triggered a key debate on the wave of redundancies at the Newsquest titles and across the industry in Scotland. She told the meeting that she supports the NUJ's calls for the Health and Safety Executive to examine stress and work levels at the newspapers under the company's new arrangements, which may see the journalist workforce cut by 20%.